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Dinosaur Fossil Found With Preserved Soft Tissue

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the begun-the-clone-wars-have dept.

Science 248

damn_registrars writes "A fossilized hadrosaur has been uncovered in South Dakota that has preserved soft tissue. This is described as a "mummified" dinosaur, and allows for a look at the skin and musculature of some parts of this animal. The find was reported by a 24 year old Yale graduate student of paleontology."

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Question (4, Interesting)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560731)

According to the FTA, the find was originally located in 1999, and partially excavated in 2004 with a full investigation commencing in 2006. Having never studied archeology or paleontology, is it common for sites like this to be passed by even though there is something located there?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21560809)

There is stuff located EVERYWHERE. The problem is that not a whole lot of it is preserved very well, if at all. The problem is identifying exactly what it is you are looking at.

Re:Question (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21560991)

Dinosaurs can be big. Really big. I mean, you may think ...

Oh, wait, wrong analogy. Seriously though, the phrase that is most relevant to answering your question is in the article: "10-ton block", plus another 4 tons, which they whittled down to "only" 5 tons in total. This is not your usual fossil extraction task. It can take significant money and time to set up what is needed to excavate a find that big, you have to transport it, and you have to find a spot for it back in the lab after you do extract it. This is back-breaking, painstaking work, and getting together a big enough chain gang^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H I mean group of volunteers to do the job isn't always easy, especially when there may be a dozen other sites in the region where excavations are already under way, and to which the resources you have are already allocated. So, sometimes a site gets marked with its GPS coordinates and hidden until the resources are available. Also, sometimes you have to start the excavation before you really realize the importance of what you have found. That seems to be the case for this specimen, based on the comments in the article. They didn't originally realize how special it was.

So, yeah, what you describe is common, especially in areas that are both remote and prolific, and especially for large dinosaur specimens. It can take years.

FTA? (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561175)

According to the FTA...


the Fucking Terranosaur Article?

1 million bucks every minute! (0, Offtopic)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560737)

This is how much [nytimes.com] your nazional debt is growing every minute.
Do you still believe you're running the Welt?

Re:1 million bucks every minute! (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561189)

Don't worry, we'll get it all back from ticket sales at the Jurrassic Park we'll make cloning these mummified dinosaurs.

thats sort of a good thing (1)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561545)

thats sort of a good thing when your economy is based on debt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-fD78zyvI [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnCjYagqtMo&mode=related&search= [youtube.com]

but only until everyone else figures out how it all works and everything collapses.

North Dakota, Not South Dakota (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560747)

First line of the summary:

A fossilized hadrosaur has been uncovered in South Dakota that has preserved soft tissue.
First line of the article:

A high school student hunting fossils in the badlands of his native North Dakota discovered an extremely rare mummified dinosaur that includes not just bones but also seldom seen fossilized soft tissue such as skin and muscles, scientists will announce today.
For those of you who have not visited both North & South Dakota, I have. They are, in fact, not the same place. The submitter was probably confused as the belief that nothing comes from North Dakota is a well known fact. However, this news and fossil flies right in the face of that so I have to rework my post graduate thesis on black holes--it seems information can escape.

Also, since I just watched Bender's Big Score repeatedly, "It's DOLOMITE, baby!"

You see, beneath the fossil's crunchy, mineral shell, there's still a creamy core of hadrosaur nougat!

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560843)

Oh sure. Next I suppose you're going to try to convince us that there's a NEW Mexico. I'm not falling for that one again...

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (5, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561269)

There was, in the early nineties. It didn't work out and they had to re-release Classic Mexico. It was the biggest failure of the North American nation industry until the Crystal Canada fiasco.

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561415)

Oh, what a farce that was. To think that they could just push their so-called "Classic Mexico" on an unsuspecting populace without comment.
The real truth is that the formula for "Classic Mexico" was stolen after the 1988 infiltration by the Semi-Conscious Liberation Army, leading to the mad scramble to come up with "New Mexico".
Puh-leez.

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

San-LC (1104027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560887)

I believe it's Dolemite, baby. And, in proper Jurassic Park form: "Uh-uh-uh, you didn't say the magic word."

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561467)

"I believe it's Dolemite, baby."

No, it's dolomite [wikipedia.org] (CaMg(CO3)2). It's a mineral named after the Déodat de Dolomieu [wikipedia.org] . But according to the article about the dinosaur, which mentions the way the specimen is preserved, "It's SIDERITE, baby!", which is iron carbonate [wikipedia.org] .

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561739)

Whereas the Dolemite thrives in overheated, dirty, loud environments with lots of children and feeds on the acne and dead skin of it's human hosts. This cunning mite has evolved a secretion which endows it's human hosts with an over inflated opinion of their "rights" and an unwillingness to go out and seek work when they live off the proceeds of child benefits and petty theft. Thus does it ensure the longevity of it's environment for it's future generations.

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561043)

For those of you who have not visited both North & South Dakota, I have. They are, in fact, not the same place.
I know but it is hard to tell the difference sometimes. For orientation I use the fact that North Dakota has a giant cow on a hill and that South Dakota has a couple of dead Presidents on a hill. It helps except when you are not near either.

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561445)

They are, in fact, not the same place.

Yeah, but its hard to tell when its covered in snow, it all looks the same.
(I jest, my family lives in SD, my brother goes to school in ND ... I'm relatively familiar with both).

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (2, Informative)

dannannan (470647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561481)

This is not the first time they've found soft dinosaur tissue in the Dakotas. Maybe the submitter was confusing this with an earlier soft tissue find in South Dakota [newscientist.com] .

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561699)

For those of you who have not visited both North & South Dakota, I have. They are, in fact, not the same place.

Actually, I have visited them both - though never in the same trip (I grew up in Minnesota).

But can anyone explain why there is a North Dakota and a South Dakota?

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561709)

It's DOLOMITE, baby!
Personally, I was hoping for an edible hadrosaur a la Emperor Nimbala, former ruler of Zuben 5!

Re:North Dakota, Not South Dakota (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561775)

My father once quipped, "If Indiana didn't suck so bad it'd be hurled into space!"

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21560753)

first

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21560939)

second bitch!

Well, damn (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560757)

From the summary, I was hoping it would be actual dinosaur jerky. But it's actually fossilized tissue -- neat, and a rare find, but not enough for any actual biochemistry.

Re:Well, damn (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561021)

Well what if we paid $999 for a complete DNA scan and sent it in?
 

Re:Well, damn (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561487)

Well what if we paid $999 for a complete DNA scan and sent it in?

I'm afraid it was already done on a T. Rex a few years ago...

The Wellcome Trust at the Sanger Institute Present the T. Rex International Paleontonomics Experiment [ncifcrf.gov]

Re:Well, damn (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561527)

And yes, that was a joke. Notice the acronym spells out "TRIPE". If the original was still available, you'd find that they described it coming from a fossilized big toe found under a tree stump by Dr. Ross Geller [wikipedia.org] . They even described genes such as "TINYBRAIN" for the animal, though it was all just an April Fool's joke (notice that it also says 1 April 2003).

No clone wars (5, Informative)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560781)

RTFA. There's no DNA; the fossilization process was fast enough to fossilize soft tissue. It's not organic material.

Although it is described as "mummified," the 65 million-year-old duckbilled dinosaur that scientists have named Dakota bears no similarity to the leather-skinned human mummies retrieved from ancient tombs in Egypt. Time long ago transformed Dakota's soft tissue into mineralized rock, preserving it for the ages.

"It's a dinosaur that was turned into stone, essentially," said Lyson, 24, now a graduate student in paleontology at Yale University.

Re:No clone wars (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561019)

That's okay. I have some dinosaur DNA in my freezer if they really need some.

Re:No clone wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561153)

Who are you telling to RTFA??? You're not responding to anyone, and the summary says nothing about DNA.

Re:No clone wars (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561303)

But fossilized is hardly what I would called 'preserved'. I wouldn't eat a jar of fossilized jam.

Re:No clone wars (1)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561389)

Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday December 03, @10:23AM from the begun-the-clone-wars-have dept.

Re:No clone wars (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561603)

The summary implies that there is soft tissue. There isn't any. There are mineral structures representing what the soft tissue would have looked like, and that is it.

Re:No clone wars (1)

camg188 (932324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561795)

Unfortunately, the article used the term "mummified". Mummification != fossilization. But I understand that reporting of even the most elementary scientific subjects is dumbed down for mass publication (and probably for the reporters and editors themselves).

Re:No clone wars (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561277)

There's no DNA; the fossilization process was fast enough to fossilize soft tissue. It's not organic material.

It is a very useful find however. Since it enables techniques such as working out muscles from their attachment points to the bones to be refined. As well as examination of such tissues can show how these extinct animals are related to ones which exist now.

Re:No clone wars (1)

oboreruhito (925965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561347)

It is a very useful find however.

I don't disagree, but that's because I also read the article.

This is just yet another incorrect /. article, straight down to the snarky, Star Wars-referencing department line Taco put on it.

Not real soft tissue (3, Informative)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560797)

This isn't like that other discovery where what appeared to be red tissue was found inside a bone. This is just fossilized soft tissue. No soft tissue is present, just the mineral representation of what the tissue would have looked like, its structure, etc.

Another great moment in science: (3, Funny)

martianred (1065052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560821)

a hadrosaur's backside was about 25 percent larger than previously thought.
That's... great. ... So when can we clone it already?

Re:Another great moment in science: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561121)

You must like a little junk in your trunk!

Re:Another great moment in science: (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561167)

So she had a Badonkadonk.

Re:Another great moment in science: (2, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561461)

The larger-backsize finding was actually met with exuberance by the international archaeological community, with butt expert and OBE Sir Mixalot exclaiming "I like big butts and I cannot lie".

"You get sprung", added Mixalot.

However, not all scientists applaud the finding, with polymath and host of the popular science show Infinite Solutions Mark Erickson criticizing that this finding will further reduce the scientific community's interest in tiny dinosaurs, which he describes as sadly overlooked.

Re:Another great moment in science: (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561761)

The larger-backsize finding was actually met with exuberance by the international archaeological community

Archaeologists do not excavate dinosaur remains, paleontologists do. Archaeologists only deal with ancient human remains.

It's not 25% larger (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561857)

It just looks that way in those jeans

Dino DNA (3, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560825)

This isn't the first time they've gotten soft tissue from a dinosaur. A few years ago, they were trying to haul some dinosaur bones from a dig site by helocopter, but the bones wouldn't fit. After trying to solve the problem several ways, they made the agonized decision to break some of the largest bones. When they broke them open, they found soft tissue in one of them (I think it was a femur). A friend of mine (getting his phd in bioinfomatics) mentioned that they had managed to extract dinosaur proteins from this, and that because proteins are much more unstable then nucleic acids, it was entirely likely that they could extract dinosaur DNA from the specimen.

Also: Mammoth DNA (4, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560871)

Also, in case anyone missed it, a few months back, some researchers extracted [nationalgeographic.com] enough woolly mammoth DNA from mammoth hairs to sequence it

Re:Also: Mammoth DNA (3, Insightful)

tomatensaft (661701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561117)

Hey, I've got a business idea. What would you think if we would breed those mammoths as livestock and sell their meat (Delicious Mammoth Jerky?) and, of course, ivory! And sure enough, many zoos around the globe would want to buy one for their exhibits. That would probably save the elephants from extinction...

Re:Also: Mammoth DNA (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561247)

So, if you clone an animal that doesn't exist... when it is born does the species automatically get added to the Endangered Species List? If so, your idea might be a quick path to jail.

1. Clone Mammoth
2. ...
3. Profit

Unfortunately step 2 might be jail.

Re:Also: Mammoth DNA (1)

tomatensaft (661701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561619)

I thought that Endangered Species List only lists animals endangered in the wild, no? Those being breeded as livestock cannot be held endangered, can they?

Re:Also: Mammoth DNA (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561887)

Just look at Cattle. Their wild ancestor the Aurochs is long extinct.

Re:Dino DNA (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560927)

A friend of mine (getting his phd in bioinfomatics) mentioned that they had managed to extract dinosaur proteins from this, and that because proteins are much more unstable then nucleic acids, it was entirely likely that they could extract dinosaur DNA from the specimen.
Please remind him to keep it away from the amphibian DNA.

Re:Dino DNA (2, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561405)

It's been several years since I've looked at any of the literature on the topic of ancient DNA, and my particular area of interest was the sequencing of human and Neandertal DNA in the arena of phylogenetics, but as I remember, the general consensus was that it would be extremely unlikely to be able to extract, amplify, and sequence enough DNA from specimens beyond, say, about 100,000 years old. The difficulties posed in specimens of geologic age would be even greater.

Apart from deterioration, contamination of specimens by modern DNA is a huge concern. I vaguely remember at least one instance where a published paper claimed to have sequenced DNA from fossilized leaves, when it later turned out that the specimen had been contaminated with modern plant matter, or something similar. Of course, when researching prehistoric human DNA, the chances of contamination are extremely high, are very difficult to detect. I'm not sure how difficult contamination would be to detect in animal samples, but I suspect it wouldn't be easy to rule out.

Re:Dino DNA (2, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561633)

Apologies for replying to my own post, but I managed to find the article I mentioned. There were two, actually: "Golenberg EM. 1991. Amplification and analysis of Miocene plant fossil DNA. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 333:419-427." and "Golenberg EM, Giannasi E, Clegg M, Smiley CJ, Durban M, Henderson D and Zurawski G. 1990. Chloroplast sequence from a Miocene magnolia species. Nature 344:656-658." Golenberg believed he had sequenced a 770 base pair nucleotide chain from a 20 million year old leaf. The findings were later discredited by Svante Paabo [wikipedia.org] , the well-known paleogeneticist.

Re:Dino DNA (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561573)

There was no soft tissue found with this dinosaur, only very well preserved imprints of the soft tissue.

Re:Dino DNA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561811)

http://76.184.64.73/wikipedia.html [76.184.64.73]

not banned yet!!!

Re:Dino DNA (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561817)

These are the three problems with dinosaur cloning:
  • Find a dinosaur DNA, enough of it to complete the dinosaur's genome
  • Make sure the dinosaur DNA isn't fragmented, which it almost certainly will be after so long. Or piece it all back together somehow.
  • You can't take a cell from a modern animal, stick dinosaur DNA inside it and turn it into a dino-cell. Even with a full dinosaur genome you can't clone a dinosaur without a dinosaur cell. It's the chicken and egg problem on a microscopic scale.
Even if we could clone them we've still got other problems to deal with:
  • The hard-line Christians question the ethics of cloning and the existence of dinosaurs, so how well would dinosaur cloning research go down?
  • Not letting them escape. Here in Australia we're having enough problems dealing with cane toads, can you imagine having to deal with velociraptors?
  • Trying to tell them that everything they ever knew and loved is gone. They wouldn't know about the Soviet collapse or the World Wars, or that these days most large animals grow their children inside of them, how would they deal with that shock? Is it ethical? These dinosaurs have never even seen anything with hair before, how would they cope?

Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21560839)

A team of creationist paleontologists from the Discovery Institute's main field research arm announced today that they had discovered the remains of a large manmade object confirmed to be an ancient dinosaur saddle. The Discovery Institute's discovery was discovered in the remote Dusty Rivers area of southwestern Arizona. A spokesman for the paleontological team said that the dinosaur saddle provides irrefutable proof that man and dinosaurs lived simultaneously, as predicted by most creationist or "intelligent design" doctrines.

http://www.avantnews.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=126 [avantnews.com]

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560917)

I clicked the link and half expected to be redirected to goatse or one of those, but was rather surprised to find a real site on the other end. Next question is, is that a crack pot news site run by ID proponents, a joke site like the onion, or a real news site that's just running a crackpot story?

RTFL (2, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561017)

is that a crack pot news site run by ID proponents, a joke site like the onion, or a real news site that's just running a crackpot story?

Let me guess, that link mentions "the Discovery Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Seattle with affiliates operating at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C." and "we know Velociraptor was a vegetarian, as can be clearly deduced from its long rows of razor-sharp teeth, perfectly designed for tearing leaves from trees or rooting for truffles and other buried delicacies, and could therefore be domesticated at very low risk."


Looks like alternative [B - Joke site] is the most probable one.

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (1)

Brummund (447393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561057)

From the article: "Dr. Booble, who received his doctorate in paleontology from the respected Holy Patriot! Bible University and Correspondence College of Claptrappe, Oklahoma"

It is indeed quite real. I fondly remember Dr. Booble's lectures, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him, his 3 wives and 27 children all the best. I hope you guys continue to dominate Claptrappe's basket, soccer and football teams!

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (2, Funny)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561191)

It was found in "Mud Flaps, AZ" by one "Dr. Booble." Looks legitimate to me...

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561323)

Hell, I've never been to Arizona, as far as I know it could have a town called Mud Flaps. Wouldn't be any weirder than the names I've seen in some other states. Missed the Dr. Booble thing which in and of itself doesn't give it away, but what does is the mention of "oly Patriot!(TM) Bible University and Correspondence College of Claptrappe, Oklahoma" as someone else pointed out. So, looks like it's a joke story. After reading the about page for that site it looks like it's trying to be another the onion type site.

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561875)

Well, what do you think this part suggests?

Dr. Booble's colleague, Dr. D. Oxy Ribonucleic

Mod parent up (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560923)

Oh if I only had some mod points...

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561181)

I'm not taking anything seriously from a guy called Booble. I seriously doubt he even earned his title of Dr. from a real University.

mod parent down (1)

Iowan41 (1139959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561219)

The idiot doesn't even know that ID holds to old earth dates, and to darwinian evolution.

Re:mod parent down (1)

mjeffers (61490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561655)

The idiot doesn't even know that ID holds to old earth dates, and to darwinian evolution.


This poster speaks the truth. And enough of this knocking on the "flat earth" theory. Everyone knows that those people accept a slight curvature to account for the horizon line.

WHY WON'T YOU TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!!!!1!!!!

Re:Also In news: Dinosaur Saddle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561263)

Be fair. Even if that were a real story, the DI is like the NewScientist of creationism.

This has happened before (3, Informative)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560851)

FYI, this has happened a few times before. PBS Nova Science Now recently did a piece on something similar.

Watch Online:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3411/01.html [pbs.org]

..and it will happen again. (1)

CeramicNuts (265664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561533)

Who are the final five dinosaurs?

Was the dinosaur (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560853)

smashing a house when it died?

Dinosaur = Balmer? (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560883)

*looks at article below this one*

Maybe he was throwing chairs?

A quote from Dr. Malcom (5, Funny)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560897)

1. God creates dinosaurs
2. God destroys dinosaurs
3. God creates man
4. Man destroys God
5. Man creates dinosaurs

Re:A quote from Dr. Malcom (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561047)

Of course you'd forget the best part:

6. Dinosaurs eat man... women inherit the Earth.

Re:A quote from Dr. Malcom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561599)

Obligatory:

1. God creates dinosaurs
2. God destroys dinosaurs
3. God creates man
4. Man destroys God
5. Man creates dinosaurs
6. .........
7. Profit!

Re:A quote from Dr. Malcom (1)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561825)

hm.. so continuing based on your pattern, I get

6. Man destroys dinosaurs
7. Man creates God
8. God destroys Man

I guess Judgment Day is imminent after all..

I think I can make a prediction here... (0, Flamebait)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560905)

Press release from Answers in Genesis which completely misunderstands the find in 3... 2... 1...

Jurassic Park? (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560929)

I know it's just a movie but they completely sold me on the idea of getting dinosaur DNA from blood in mosquitos trapped in dried tree sap deposits. Was that all a bunch of crapola? I had assumed they had all kinds of dino DNA just sitting in a fridge somewhere waiting for cloning to really take off. Do we really not have any dino DNA on record?

Re:Jurassic Park? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561031)

Wow you chose an apt nickname. No, they don't have fridges full of dino DNA. There have been a few instances of intact soft tissue being found in fossilized dinosaurs remains, but not a whole ton. Not to mention, this find is fossilized soft tissue, which is a world apart from fossilized bones which contain remains of soft tissue.

Re:Jurassic Park? (5, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561311)

Some facts for you:

1.) When cloning a sheep to give birth to itself, by putting a complete strand of its own DNA in its own egg cells in its own womb, we would have a one in several hundred chance of success. We don't know why, but the rest would be miscarriages, still births, or otherwise non-viable. The cloned animal would die early of old age, nobody knows why.

2.) The Human Genome Project to sequence *ONE* complete set of DNA for a single human took us 13 years and 3 billion dollars. That's comparable to the Apollo project, to sequence *ONE* example of a complex being's DNA.

3.) DNA is relatively unstable. I doesn't survive completely intact for 65 million years no matter how you preserve it.

Mosquitoes trapped in amber wouldn't be great sources of DNA - it would have still decomposed over time. Not in the "something ate it" sense of the word, but in the "radioactive particles" sense of the word. So the DNA would be there, but fragmented. Analyzing one strand of complete, non-fragmented strand of DNA was an Epic undertaking. Doing it with hundreds of strands that were chopped into pieces is probably beyond our capabilities. We could also get this DNA from red blood cells found in a T-rex fossil recently, or just from grinding up the core of bones for *really* tiny bits.

Next, you can't just patch DNA in a dinosaur with DNA from a reptile. It just doesn't work that way, and birds are closer relatives anyway if it *did* work that way.

And then you'd have to somehow put together a DNA molecule. We can't do that yet. I'm totally serious, we can't. We can manipulate pieces maybe 10 or so genes long in existing DNA, but I don't think we could piece billions of genes long strands together from a blueprint even given all the time in the world.

Finally, you'd need a viable dinosaur egg. You can't just pick someone else's egg and stick dino DNA in it, eggs are highly specialized. You might get away with something as similar as elephant-mammoth but there just isn't anything *like* a dinosaur, nothing *near* close enough for a viable egg.

If by some miracle you managed to find full dino DNA, sequence the DNA, assemble the DNA, and put them in an artificial egg that worked... you'd have to do a thousand trials before you could say with any certainty you'd messed something up to make it fail instead of just having bad luck. So don't worry about Jurassic Park happening anytime soon.

Re:Jurassic Park? (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561645)

Finally, you'd need a viable dinosaur egg. You can't just pick someone else's egg and stick dino DNA in it, eggs are highly specialized. You might get away with something as similar as elephant-mammoth but there just isn't anything *like* a dinosaur, nothing *near* close enough for a viable egg.

You gave me images of a mammoth hatching out of a very large elephant egg, followed by an elephant birthing a velociraptor. I'll grant you that eggs are specialized, but I think you should be more careful with your use of the word "egg".

Re:Jurassic Park? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561755)

When cloning a sheep to give birth to itself

"To give birth to itself" is about as bad a characterization of cloning as one could possibly make, winning maximum points for the most misunderstanding packed into the fewest words.

1) The host mother is virtually never the genetic mother

2) The offspring is not the genetic mother, which would be the only way an animal could "give birth to itself."

Here's news: different genetically identical organisms are different organisms. Ask any identical twin. And if you ever have any trouble with the supposed ethics issues surrounding human cloning, just replace "clone" with "child" everywhere and you will have reduced the problem to one of the messy and difficult issues of reproduction that humans have been dealing with since before we thought the Earth was flat.

BTW a number of your other claims are wrong. There aren't "billions of genes", although there are quite a large number of base pairs, and we have no trouble manipulating sequences of at least a few thousand base pairs, and longer can be managed. This is not to say that Jurasic Park is around the corner, but expression of saurian traits via heavily genetically engineered birds could happen in the next few decades.

Damage in sequence... (2, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561489)

That would be theoretically hard.

With the mosquitoes technique you'll find in the end several fragment of DNA per mosquitoe, with no way to know if they come from the same dino or if its contaminent from the mosquitoe.
In the end you may have a very large library containing lots of sequence fragment. The building of this library would require a lot of money and time and won't have any direct benefit (= few would like to fund it).
Then you would unleash bio informaticians to start mining the database, trying to sort the fragments and seeing which could fit which other.
Only now could you get :
- Comparison between the archeological fragment and modern sequence (Useful to understand how proteins evolved over time) ( - Warning, not fundie-compatible studies. May not get financed in conservative USA states)
- Comparison of the fragments with already built phylogenetic modern trees (idem).

But given then "fragment" nature of the database on one hand and due to the repetition and sequence similarity inside a single genome on the other hand, you may not have enough information to sort a complete genome or even sort the fragments across severl species.
That why the fictional Jurassic Park book used a lot of sequence of modern day species to help align the fragments and patch the holes.
As a comparison there an actual experiment that picked up a lot of sample of sea water and sequenced whatever it managed to find inside. We end up with a lot of fragments but not much help to know wich sequence comes from what specie. This database is very hard to interpret. A dinosaur mosquitoe database would be similarily complex.

At least trying to find squences in fossilised soft tissue could make you believe that most of the few sequence you can manage to take out come from the same animal. But once again you'll get a lot of small sequence fragments that will be hard to put together.

Done before (3, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21560943)

I think they stole this story from the episode of "Denver the Last Dinosaur" wherein Denver disguises himself as a mummy to avoid capture.

Another example of my childhood being recycled. Maybe them can get Michael Bay to crap all over the live-action version.

Re:Done before (1)

Kurrurrin (790594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561843)

To be fair, Denver was a whole lot more.

Wake me when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561129)

Wake me up, when the first clone-able remains were found.

Fossilized what? (1)

dr_strang (32799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561173)

I thought it said "fossilized hairdresser" when I first looked at the headline. THEN I thought "Wilma Flintstone".

Welcome to Surreal Monday.

Finally, at long last (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561187)

We can find out what dinosaurs taste like.

Re:Finally, at long last (2, Informative)

afedaken (263115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561319)

Chicken.

Yum! (1)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561193)

with preserved soft tissue
Fire up the barbie, we're having dino-burgers tonite!

Re:Yum! (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561777)

mmmmm.... jurassic pork...

Proof of Creationism! (0)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561197)

Ha! The fact that tissue was preserved only goes further to prove that the world isn't as old as those stupid Evolutionists claim it is! Could tissue survive a couple hundred million years? I think not! Pffft!

God wins again!

Re:Proof of Creationism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561375)

It was already proven....

Here
http://www.missiontoamerica.org/genesis/six-thousand-years.html
and

here my favorite
http://independencebaptist.org/6,000%20Year%20Old%20Earth/6,000_year_old_earth.htm

The title is incomprehensable (1)

TV-SET (84200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561387)

The title is a bit hard to understand for non-native English speakers. Does it really say that they found some shit with a piece of ass in it? :)

Feathers? (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561411)

I'd be interested to hear if they found any evidence that this dinosaur may have had feathers. So far they've found only limited evidence as to the existence of feathers on dinosuars, and even then only on a few species.

Large Backside ... (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561443)

"a hadrosaur's backside was about 25 percent larger than previously thought."

So, its a J-Lo-asaur ?

Or perhaps a Bodonkadonkasaur?

obligatory (1)

3ryon (415000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561629)

I for one welcome the ensuing overload jokes.

Can they tell (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561713)

If it was white or red meat?

So how soon ... ? (1)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561731)

can I order my own pet minature hadrosaur? I can't be the only one thinking that, can I?

I want to see it (1)

thorkyl (739500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561749)

I can't wait for the documentary on it. I would love to see the images of it.

I wonder what color it is.
What/Who did it eat last.
Was it scaly or flesh.
Was its hide like that of a cow or thin like that of a lizard

Who gets the first Dino-Skin Boots?

All of the things that make for a good documentary.

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